The Book of Proverbs is considered the second manuscript in the Writings (Ketuvim) and the third section of the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh). Did you know that the full title of the Book of Proverbs in Hebrew is Mishlei Shlomo or Th Proverbs of Solomon? The book is a reference to King Solomon, who is the author of Mishlei, according to the Jewish tradition.
Who is the Author of the Book of Proverbs?
It is not likely that Solomon authorized much of Proverbs in spite of this attribution. For one, some other authors are acknowledged throughout the book, like the officials of King Hezekiah Agur, son of King Lemuel and Yakeh.
Furthermore, while much of the material might have been produced before the Jewish exile from Israel, a few modern scholars set the true completion in the post-exile period of the book, long after the actual reign of King Solomon.
The attribution roots from the tradition of connecting a book to a biblical figure known for a specific quality. For instance, the Book of Psalms is connected with King David, who was popular to be a musician and a poet. King Solomon, on the other hand, is popular for his knowledge, and so Proverbs might have looked like a natural fit.
It’s worth noting as well that much of the book might not be familiar to most. Nonetheless, it does have some notable passages. For instance, it has become a focal point of the Torah service.
The Book of Proverbs suits the genre of wisdom literature, as it’s unconcerned with Israelite practices like a sacrifice or Temple worship. As an alternative, Proverbs provides statements amount how to perform one’s life smartly. The book doesn’t provide a systematic presentation of particular doctrinal principles, Israelite or otherwise. However, Proverbs does demonstrate a clear view of punishment and reward associated directly with God.
Everything starts with God. The good things should be rewarded, and the evil will be punished. Those who pursue wisdom will discover rewards greater than material wealth. Remember that wisdom itself is the biggest and greatest reward of all.
King Solomon is the tenth son of King David and also the second son of Bathsheba. He was in charge of writing most of the chapters in the book. They are often called the Proverbs of Solomon, as he reports for at least twenty-nine of the thirty-one chapters.
The remaining two chapters were written by King Lemuel and Agur. Solomon ruled during what most refer to as the Golden Age of Israel. He was popular for his wisdom, as readers feel the power of it as they read, as well as his accomplished track record of other writings and buildings.
On top of that, his period of leadership lasted about forty years, like King Saul and David before him. That long-range and history of prosperity throughout his time is a shining reflection of the kind of leader he was.
Scriptures point to Solomon performing the Godly work of King David. For instance, 1 Kings 2 to 4 accounts for the charge David presented to Solomon before his death. You see, a forty-year rule and the Book of Proverbs later, you can discover that Solomon took that charge very seriously.
Important Lessons You Can Acquire about the Book of Proverbs
Proverbs is also considered one of the five wisdom books of the Bible, along with four being Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Psalms, and Job. It’s a book about how you can and should pursue wisdom, but the book is a guide to please God and your fellow man.
Even though it’s a practical book that deals with the art of living, it bases its wisdom solidly on the fear of the Lord. Throughout the book, devotion for God and dependence on him are set forth as the journey to security, prosperity, and life.
Like most books of the Bible, Proverbs are living words you can draw new life and wisdom from at any point in your life. Even if you’ve read it many times already, you can draw something new from that living word.
As you develop yourself in connection and wisdom with God, old things become new again. You see, wisdom integrates understanding and knowledge, and the Proverbs supply you with those things throughout different major themes such as:
- the fear of the Lord
- revelation knowledge
- the contrast of wise men and fools
- transcendence and immanence
- wealth and poverty
- Jesus and the church
In our modern time, you will find a much profound and deeper need for that content. Laziness, materialism, infidelity, and self-sufficiency run rampant. Everyone has reality TV shows supporting various partners in the same week, social media campaigns for getting rich quick schemes, news about murders over theft, and efforts to eliminate God from our lives totally.
Even for people who do not absorb that content, it’s smart to renew yourself in the love and wisdom of God and found in the Books of Proverbs.
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